Which famous person will I run into first? I thought as I stepped off the plane in LAX (shout out Jenna Dewan, you won!). After grabbing my bags and wandering around overtired and a little flustered, I took an Uber to my Airbnb in West Hollywood.
Two notable things happened during this Uber drive. Number one, the video game Grand Theft Auto was scarily accurate with how they depicted LA, it was the first thing I thought of driving through Hollywood and the hills and how similar the map resembled/recreated the actual city. Secondly, this Uber was my first ‘Uber pool’ experience. For those who do not know, Uber pool is just a shared ride with someone else going in the same general direction as you for a cheaper price. My companion in this journey was headed to Sherman Oaks, which was the same general direction… just outside of LA, over the hills… without traffic it was 20 minutes away. That last sentence is the last time you will ever hear the words LA and ‘without traffic’ co-existing. After an hour and ten minutes in this Uber, I arrived at my spot.
Throughout the past week and a half, I have spent hundreds in transportation apps like Uber and Lime (electric scooters which are the best invention of the 21st century – quite cheap too). With traffic constantly ramped you always need a cushion for time… rush hours are the worst of course, but for an example, I had a meeting with a VR medical health technology company called embodied labs (be on the lookout for that interview) in central LA. The meeting was at 1:30, which you would think would be a calmer time, plus the Uber app said it would only take 25 minutes, but it ended up being closer to 50 minutes to drive 12 miles.
With transportation so costly, as well as the vast differences in subdivisions, choosing where to stay in LA is an important decision. Because of traffic and accessibility to nearby grocery and department stores, most of the time, if you reside in a location – you generally do not stray too far away from it. For the first five days I was in West Hollywood. I expected it to be somewhat like a Beverly Hills vibe, but it was not what I had anticipated. My area did not feel particularly safe when walking alone later at night. This is not the case for all of Hollywood, of course, it is a huge subdivision; but my location was not in the kindest neck of the woods. I packed my bags and ventured down to Santa Monica and Marina del Rey area. My friend Geoff is here from Halifax for business, so I lucked out and got to crash at his place for my last few evenings in LA. If you ever come, I cannot recommend this area enough. A stone throw away from the beach, smiling people, and lime scooters everywhere – Santa Monica is where it’s at!
If I had to choose my top three notable locations for future LA travellers they would be: take a walk, bike, or lime down the Venice boardwalk to the Santa Monica pier, hike up the Hollywood hills to Griffith Observatory, and lastly, if you’re interested in VR technology, the Void hyper reality was an awesome experience.